Ron Rivera seems to have the support of Josh Harris and his Washington Commanders ownership group, but for how long?
The Washington Commanders are finally out of the doldrums and into the light. It's been just a few days since Josh Harris and his ownership group assumed control of the franchise after their $6.05 billion sale received formal NFL approval, but the changes have already begun to take shape with training camp and the 2023 season on the horizon.
Bleachers have been installed at camp that will seat 2,000. This might seem like the minimum requirement, but it's something Dan Snyder never provided and the free parking is something else that's gone down a storm among fans.
There isn't much time for Harris' group to make alterations before Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals at what promises to be an electrifying FedEx Field. They are focusing their attention on enhancing experiences, building bridges with the community, and assessing the football side of things meticulously as Ron Rivera gets set for his fourth and most pivotal campaign as head coach.
Commanders ownership supports Ron Rivera (for now)
Rivera's endured mixed fortunes so far. No winning season has come around as yet, but the experienced figure deserves credit for changing the culture and getting a team sapped of morale back pulling in the same direction.
There is an added sense of pressure with new ownership watching every move intently. But Harris stated his confidence in Rivera via Sports Illustrated recently as he looks to get a broader indication of how football operations are being run in the coming months.
"This is a big season, and we look forward to learning and watching and seeing what happens. I'm very excited to be spending time with Coach Rivera and his staff and players and understanding what's going on, and I'm very supportive right now of what they're doing."- Josh Harris via Sports Illustrated
The quote was small, but it was telling.
And the "right now" part of Harris' statement of support indicates things could change quickly.
One would find it hard to believe potential replacements for Rivera if things went south this season haven't already been discussed by the ownership group. The current coach should also know full well what can occur after getting fired by David Tepper when he bought the Carolina Panthers for a then-record $2.2 billion.
Upsetting the apple cart so soon before the campaign wouldn't be smart. Discussions between Rivera and Harris have been positive, but the ownership group's intentions to win and win now mean the margin for error is slimmer than ever.
Getting off to a fast start is critical for Rivera. Anything less could see the figurehead go past the point of no return by midseason and force the new owners into drastic action much sooner than anticipated.
Much will depend on how Sam Howell performs as Washington's starting quarterback. The Commanders also need Eric Bieniemy to thrive with full play-calling control and the offensive line must also provide increased stability in pursuit of progression.
The Commanders' defense takes care of itself and should be a top-three unit if everyone stays healthy. As for Rivera, he must handle the situational football side better and convince Harris that he is the man capable of leading Washington into a prosperous new era.
If he cannot meet expectations, then coaches will be lining up around the block to get his job.